Aluminum-air battery

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Carl White
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Aluminum-air battery

Postby Carl White » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:29 am

Hopefully true? The Daily Mail isn't the greatest source. Take it with an enormous grain of salt, who knows what problems aren't mentioned.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... ng-it.html

  • electrolyte is neither poisonous or caustic
  • pure aluminum not required
  • nine times as much energy as lithium-ion: nine times as many kilowatt hours of electricity per kilogram
  • energy density is higher than for lithium-ion too
  • once an aluminium-air fuel cell is spent, it can be recycled very cheaply, rather than having to manufacture a new battery each time
  • idea is to swap out the old one and install a new, rather than recharging
  • signed a multi-million-pound deal to start manufacturing the device on a large scale in the UK
  • Austin Electric, an engineering firm based in Essex, which now owns the rights to use the old Austin Motor Company logo, will begin putting thousands of them into electric vehicles next year.
Although looking up Austin Electric, it seems it was just formed a month ago. Hmm. What electric vehicles then, golf carts? Forklifts? Previously existing electric buses? Car refits?

Technically, it should be described as a fuel cell, not a battery.

Interesting story behind this, he's really had to struggle to get it recognized: https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/12/naval ... lectrique/

Giorgio
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Location: China, Italy

Re: Aluminum-air battery

Postby Giorgio » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:23 am

This brings back old memories :)

About 20 years ago me and a friend who owned a workshop embarked in producing an hydrogen burning engine using Aluminium wire for soldering.
It worked quite well, but we both knew it was purely an academic feat, nowhere economic feasible for any application.

The basic is always the same, Al2+6H20=2Al(OH)3+3H2 with addition of NaOH or NaCl to promote the reaction.
We used wire, but fine powder or flakes can be used.
About 11 Kg of Aluminium required for 1 Kg of H2 at 80% yield, which is about 120 MJ, or 33 kWh. Clearly not that good.

I wonder if they have a different (and more economic) process, but I doubt.
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

paperburn1
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Re: Aluminum-air battery

Postby paperburn1 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:55 pm

even the article state that its current battery is half the power density of LI PO batteries. but they think they have a cluge around the energy density problem while maintaining cost control
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

Giorgio
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:15 pm
Location: China, Italy

Re: Aluminum-air battery

Postby Giorgio » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:31 pm

Their concern for energy density is not the real issue, as anyhow (as they stated in the techcrunch article) their process involves transforming AL to AL(OH)3 and H2, and this is the roadstop to any wishful thinking they might have.
Even on a 100% efficient conversion rate, you still need about 7kg Al2 to get 1 Kg H2 and this can't be optimized if the end product is Aluminium Hydroxide.

Cost for an easy shape Aluminium components is roughly 2.5USD/Kg, so we need minimum 17 USD to get 1 Kg of H2 (=120MJ) only for the raw Aluminium costs, without considering assembling cost, company profit, distribution cost, reseller margin, VAT....
And 120 MJ is just the energy content of roughly 4 liters of low quality Diesel that even at European costs is less than 8 USD.

So unless they found some "unsual" way to transform AL2 to 2Al(OH)3 while generating an order of magnitude more H2 for kg of Al2, the whole process is just non economical and they are probably just aiming to get some quick grant money (best case) or to set up another Black Light style scam (worst case).
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

Carl White
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Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Aluminum-air battery

Postby Carl White » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:14 pm

There's an interesting note that the battery doesn't need pure aluminum to operate. So maybe the plan is to buy inexpensive scrap aluminum and include that in the recycling? A quickie Google search suggests an aluminum can is worth 1.7 cents at a recycling center. About 70 cans to the kilogram. That's $1.19/kg.

hanelyp
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Re: Aluminum-air battery

Postby hanelyp » Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:08 am

Maybe Al2+6H20 => 2Al(OH)3+3H2 in a fuel cell that can deliver electricity, with the H2 sent to a second energy conversion stage?
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

Giorgio
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Location: China, Italy

Re: Aluminum-air battery

Postby Giorgio » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:54 am

Carl White wrote:There's an interesting note that the battery doesn't need pure aluminum to operate. So maybe the plan is to buy inexpensive scrap aluminum and include that in the recycling? A quickie Google search suggests an aluminum can is worth 1.7 cents at a recycling center. About 70 cans to the kilogram. That's $1.19/kg.


The 1.2 $/kg is purchasing cost of scrap metal, than you need to add the melting+ingot casting+profit of the recycling company and you are already getting near the 2.0 $/kg.
From there need add transport+lamination (or extrusion) + machining to final product + shop profit and that's already getting over the 2.5 $/kg here in China for <1000 gr items manufactured from scrap aluminium. You can still fight for a discount based on aluminium purity, but you also get less aluminium for each Kg of metal and in the end is the Al2 that drives the production of H2, so less Al2 also means less H2 for each Kg of metal.
The 2.5 $/kg for 99.8% Al2 purity is a very optimistic estimate, a more real value would probably be near the 3.0 $/kg if the part need anything more than a simple extrusion process to be manufactured.


hanelyp wrote:Maybe Al2+6H20 => 2Al(OH)3+3H2 in a fuel cell that can deliver electricity, with the H2 sent to a second energy conversion stage?

In a fuel cell you also extract energy by recombining the H2 with O2, so you still get H20 at the outlet of the fuel cell and no H2 left.
The energy content of 1Kg of H2 is always the same 120 MJ, regardless of how you use it (combustion or fuel cell).
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

paperburn1
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Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:53 am
Location: Third rock from the sun.

Re: Aluminum-air battery

Postby paperburn1 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:58 pm

Very interesting remarks from the group, once again ROI rears its ugly head
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.


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